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Behind the Games: Meet the Composers - Martin O'Donnell

Our Meet the Composers interview series of the video game industry’s top musicians continues with Halo 3: ODST composer Martin O’Donnell.


Everyone is bound to recognize at least one melody from a popular video game, but how often do people know the creative maestro responsible for it? Behind the Games: Meet the Composers highlights some of the most talented minds in this specialized segment of the video game industry. Here's your chance to find out how they got started, what their musical backgrounds are, and what drives them to do what they do every day. Whether you're a video game music fan or an aspiring musician, Meet the Composers digs deep to uncover what it's like to be in the shoes of a virtuoso.

Martin O'Donnell

No Caption Provided Profile:
Martin O'Donnell
Currently Listening to:
Talk radio
Currently Working on:
Casting voice actors for Halo: Reach
Biggest Musical Influences:
My mom
First Instrument Played:


Martin "Marty" O'Donnell began his musical career by taking piano lessons from his mother, who played a lot of classical music during his childhood. He eventually realized that he'd rather compose than perform, so he earned his Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Southern California in the early '80s. After college, he founded TotalAudio, a Chicago-based commercial music and sound company, in which he had an opportunity to work on the sound design for Riven (the sequel to Myst). He then went on to work on the audio for Bungie's award-winning Myth series. Marty also has experience in composing scores for television, radio, and film.

Ten days after Marty accepted a job as Bungie's audio director in July of 2007, Microsoft purchased the studio and shuffled everyone to Redmond in order to focus on developing the game Halo, which was planned for the Xbox launch. The success of the Halo series can be attributed to many factors, one of them being the music. The audio and music for the Halo series have won several honors and awards, including the Game Developers Choice Award, the Edge Award, Rolling Stone Magazine's Best Game Soundtrack, and Best Sound from the AIAS, IGDA and the 2008 TEC Award.


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